Sandhill Cranes + Colts

In a change of pace this year the resident pair of Sandhill Cranes at Reifel started nesting earlier and in a new location. This spot was in an area out of bounds for visitors. Unfortunately this nest was predated and unsuccessful. Given the first attempt was earlier in the year, the pair returned to the small island in the centre display ponds that has been used for several years to try again. The first of two eggs was laid around Mother’s Day. The first colt hatched on Monday, June 11. The second arriving on Wednesday, June 13.

While I did attend the sanctuary on Monday and got some photos, the pictures in this post are all from Wednesday.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

Here the first colt is up close and personal with mom.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

This photo shows the latest arrival in the middle looking at mom and its sibling looking on as dad continues digging up the island looking for food.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

From a different angle, both colts with mom. The oldest on the left, the youngest on the right.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

With the first colt having already been in the water a few times, the adults encouraged both into the water and to follow them to the trails. While the oldest was more than happy to oblige, the youngest was not so inclined.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

Once the oldest made it safely to the trail, dad returned to the youngest who had not left the nesting island.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

He did eventually coax the youngest colt into the water, but not to the trail.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

The youngest colt then struggled to get back up onto the island. Perhaps being only about a half day old it was not ready for the swim to the trail.

Sandhill Crane
Sandhill Crane

The others returned to the nest and the youngest proceeded to eat quite a bit, here seen swallowing a worm. Hopefully it will gain the strength needed to make it to the trails. Life can be challenging at the best of times for the second colt.

Having taken lots of photos, I also took this video showing the entire Sandhill Crane family active on the nesting island.

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